What is Customer Self-Service?

Customer self-service is the process by which a client has the capability of resolving their own problem and/or finding answers to questions without requiring the assistance or support of a live customer support agent.

The easiest way to explain self-service customer support is that it entails helping customers to help themselves. A gasoline service station would be a suitable example.

An Introduction to Self-Service Option for Customers

Rewind 40 years and most gas stations in the United States had a pump attendant who would fill your vehicle for you, process the payment, and so on. Then came self-service options that enabled drivers to process a payment and fill the vehicle directly at the pump without the assistance of anyone else.

This enabled the station to save money by placing fewer employees on site, while customers were happier because they could fill up their vehicles sooner and get back on the road. That is a classic example of self-service. Another instance is an automated checkout line at the supermarket. Customers can now ring up their own items, place them in bags, and pay without any assistance from a store employee.

Benefits of Self-Service Options for Customers

Again, the procedure becomes cheaper for the business and faster for the customer. Everyone from movie theaters and fast food restaurants to car rental companies and banks has implemented self-service as part of their larger strategy. But self-service isn’t limited to brick-and-mortar operations. Online companies use it, too. All you need are the right customer self-service software and strategies.

For customer service teams that are stretched thin, self-service automates simple issues like password resets, returns, or basic FAQs. A combination of AiseraGPT AI voice bot and conversational AI platform can free up support agents to focus on the tickets and problems that are more complicated and require greater attention and judgment, while still enabling customers to find knowledge-base articles to self-resolve issues.

Another benefit of self-service, particularly when enhanced with AI customer service, is that it’s scalable. Instead of having to increase overhead by hiring new customer service agents whenever the business grows (and having to replace them when they leave), you simply continue to use the solutions, including AI customer service, you have in place. Your margins actually get better over time.

In theory, a customer self-service portal might sound like a great option. The problem is that most businesses don’t take the trouble to set it up properly. As a result, the company compromises its efforts and damages its relationship with its customers. If you want customer self-service to succeed, you need the appropriate plan (and tools).

Examples of Leveraging Customer Self-Service

Most businesses understand the inherent value in offering self-service options to customers. The challenge is finding ways to implement it in a way that’s smooth, cost-effective, and positive for their patrons and leveraging service channels that customers prefer.

Here are several tips that may help you.

Successful customer self-service

1. Create a Knowledge Base

A knowledge base is a dedicated customer portal or resource where customers can go to obtain crucial information. Every knowledge base is different, but they typically include a combination of articles, PDFs, manuals, videos, instructional walkthroughs, checklists, and FAQ documents.

In order to create a knowledge base, you first have to know your customers’ biggest questions and pain points. Start with:

  • What questions do customers most frequently ask the customer service agents about the product or service?
  • Which department in your organization is most overwhelmed with customer issues and requests?
  • Which customer service issues require the most attention from your team?
  • What knowledge gaps could prove dangerous or costly if your customers don’t get answers?

 

Let the answers to these questions serve as the foundation for your knowledge base. It should and will grow over time, but this will give you a solid starting place.

Once you have knowledge management in place, it should be featured prominently on your website, in product manuals, as part of the packaging, on your social media profiles, and anywhere else customers might find it useful. You can have the most robust knowledge base in the industry, but it won’t do a lick of good if people aren’t aware of it and don’t know how to get to it.

2. Use Chat Bots

Sometimes customers want a more engaging experience than just searching for a knowledge base. Self-customer service chatbots are a great way to service such people without overloading your human agents.

Aisera’s AI Customer Service Chatbot uses human intelligence, automation, and advanced workflows to serve customers without any human touch with live chat. It even connects with your existing tools and systems to leverage the data and content you already have on hand.

The result is improving customer metrics including (CSAT) and NPS scores, reduced service costs, improved agent experience, and healthier customer sentiment.

3. Automate Your Call Center

Contact center automation is another cost-effective self-service option that saves both time and money. If nothing else, you can use automation to direct the flow of calls to the right agents so customers can be served as quickly and efficiently as possible.

One of the keys to successful call center automation is to prioritize calls based on urgency. Much the way emergency room staff are trained to triage patients based on the severity of their symptoms, call center software can help you identify which customer calls require direct attention and which ones can be addressed using a combination of automation and knowledge base resources.

4. Make it Easy to Cancel

Most business owners have been told that you should make it as difficult as possible to cancel a membership, unsubscribe from an email, etc. After all, the more friction you insert, the more time there is for doubt to arise in the customer’s mind.

Right? Well … not exactly. While it’s true that you don’t want customers to be able to cancel on a whim, there’s something to be said for making it easy to do once they’ve reached that conclusion.

Otherwise, your customer service reps will be overloaded by these requests. If you make it easy for people to cancel, you’ll save time, and time is money. The key is to offer re-engagement email sequences simultaneously, and retargeting working in the background to encourage those folks to return.

Try Aisera’s AI Customer Service Today!

At Aisera, we provide a powerful suite of customer service automation tools that make it easy to automate the mundane, time-consuming aspects of growing your business. This includes our AI Customer Service platform that works with the tools and systems you already have in place to improve the customer experience at scale. Request a free AI demo with Aisera today!

FAQs

What is customer service self-service?

Customer self-service refers to the technologies that allow customers to help themselves without needing to interact with customer service representatives. This includes systems for managing information electronically, as well as chat and knowledge base resources.

What are the differences between customer self-service and customer self-care?

Most of the time they use interchangeably. But in more detail, customer self-service focuses on enabling customers to resolve issues and access information independently through tools like FAQs and chatbots. Customer self-care, however, emphasizes personal management of services and products, aiming to improve overall satisfaction and well-being. While both empower customers, self-service addresses practical problem-solving, and self-care enhances the customer’s personal experience and relationship with the service.

Additional Resources